WW2 Soldier's Story

Rebel_JamesRebel_James Member Posts: 4,746
edited June 2004 in General Discussion
He was from a small town in Georgia, and 26 years old when he married the young 17 year old high school girl in 1943. Her father was against them dating at first, but he was a good, sincere man, so he allowed them to date. They dated, fell in love, and were married.

He had a civil service job, so was exempt from the military. But feeling guilty seeing all his friends go off to fight, he enlisted in the US Army.

He rose to the rank of Sgt, 363rd Regiment, 91st Division, 5th Army. He fought with his brothers in arms through Italy, finding time to write letters to his wife almost every day.

It was April 26th, 1945, and the war was winding down, the end in sight. His outfit was fighting in the Po Valley in Italy. Approaching a farm house, suddenly a German machine gun opened up. They all hit the ditch on both sides of the road. He looked back, seeing a friend laying wounded in the road. He ran to pull his friend to safety. Just as they made it back to the ditch, the German machine gun opened up again, killing both of them. The battle ended 10 minutes later!

Similar stories took place all throughout the war in Europe and the Pacific. What makes this one different, for me at least?

1. That short firefight was the last one his unit was involved in.
2. The war was over shortly after that firefight.
3. His young wife became a widow before she was 20 years old.
5. His widowed wife is my Mom.

No, I'm not his son. They never had any children. My Mom met my Dad in 1947. My Dad is a WW2 Vet also, having fought in the Pacific.

When I was younger she talked about him very little. I knew she was married during the war and her husband was killed in action, but not much more than that. In 1973, Mom and Dad divorced. As she gets older she's told me more about him. It wasn't long ago she told me the above story.

Had it not been for his sacrifice, I wouldn't be here. I sometimes wonder how many of us are here as a direct result of a soldier's sacrifice on the field of battle?

I KNOW I AM. Learning his story from Mom makes Memorial Day feel different for me now.

His name:

Sgt. Charles L. Reece, Jr., awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Buried in the Florence American Cemetery, Via Cassia, Italy.
Plot G, Row 12, Grave 5.


"The Greatest Battle Implement Ever Devised!"
-- Gen. George S. Patton
referring to the M1 Garand


  • pipskickspipskicks Member Posts: 3,049
    edited November -1
    My grandfather fought in WWII, but he survived.

    It doesn't matter if they are related to us or not, because of them we are here now.
  • joeaf1911a1joeaf1911a1 Member Posts: 3,340
    edited November -1
    Rebel James: Truer words were never spoken as to a "last firefight"
    near the wars end. Closer to the end we got, more precious life
    became but we still had a little bit to go at that time. In fact, our
    Div. (3rd Inf) had 2533 battle casualties from Mar 15 '45 thru
    May 8 '45 with 373 KIA. This from a division of about 12,000 troops.
    He rests with his comrades and each and all are true heroes. He will
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